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- Non-denominational Beliefs & Practices
Our Burden of Proof
Water Buffaloes are cool.
What is the burden?
It would seem to me that in today’s society most people understand that there is a burden of proof in both science and law. Someone comes up with a theory and then the burden of proof is on them in order to prove that theory true. The easy ones just seem easy. All humans have two legs. And we know that is wrong. Most humans have two legs and we know that is true. Some humans have two legs and that is true beyond any reasonable doubt.
Since this was meant to be a sermon let us take the fun one. Prove that God exists. It cannot be proven. Prove that God does not exist. And it cannot be proven. One could point out certain proofs going either way. People can argue over the validity of those proofs. But they are no where near the burden of proof that we would accept.
Gravity is fun. All things fall to the earth. That would be wrong. All things that are heavier than the atmosphere around them and within the gravitational field of the earth will descend if not restricted otherwise. That one is true and provable beyond reasonable doubt.
In law there are a few areas of burden of proof. The two most clear are one for civil matters and another for criminal matters. Although both have areas where different standards apply. Civil matters in general require a concept of “by a preponderance of evidence” and criminal in general have a “beyond a reasonable doubt”. The civil is often best described as “more likely than not” like a 51 to 49% test. The criminal one is often best described as “if there is no other plausible explanation for the underlying facts”. Isn’t that cool. It really is in general that simple. What test do you use when deciding if your boss is lying to you? How about a co-worker? How about your spouse? And what about your children?
It is fun to think about. I am in the area of taking people at their word unless given real facts to contradict them. And then it is more a gut feeling than a burden to be used.
There is a reason the call it the Grand Canyon
The balance does not seem like it.
So why are we in a would be sermon talking about “burden of proof”? Most stuff regarding the spiritual is taken on faith and proof is really pretty much irrelevant. I do believe that that is how it should be. If we use linear analytical thought to try and reach the ethereal spiritual realm we are basically stuck. Just assume dimensions and planes. Think of the spiritual on plane b. The analytical on plane c. Both valid but the planes do not intersect. Or I will leave you to ponder if they do.
Ok down to brass tacks. Everything around me is going great for me and my neighbors. So I feel great. Sorry it does not work that way. There is no “if this then that” in the spiritual or emotional. Oh sure “some event” may make us sad or despondent in reaction to it. But when I am spiritually fit occurrences do not effect that. That which “happens” is on a different plane. If I drop down into the analytical plane then circumstances dictate how I feel. Up in the spiritual plane there is no such circumstance. Up in that plane there is God and love and that is that. The circumstances on that plane cannot change for there are not circumstances.
Wow – way too heavy. So back to this burden of proof in our lives. I have this part of me that relates to proofs and hard facts. And I have this part of me that is totally fu fu spiritual and empathetic. You know what? I do not seek to walk a tight rope between them. The balance comes from total immersion changing from one to another. The more radical in both directions the more balanced. A full pendulum. Did you know that a pendulum in order to work correctly swinging from one extreme to the other has to be perfectly balanced to perform correctly? Yes indeed we can switch from one part to another and go out into the extreme and still stay balanced if we allow for the other extreme. Yes I hear you – my poor wife and family. But I raise that issue for the point. We can do both a full analytical with burden of proof and the totally based on faith part. Can they merge? I leave that up to you.
I just love a lit up fountain at night.
I know this stuff is heavy so lighten up.
Let me relate a little something. I went to a University. Did I mention that I love school? I do not get good grades because I always find myself arguing against the professor’s position – yes I am a contrarian. Well I chose a major that was the toughest in my school. Philosophy. They flunked more than they passed, not to mention the drop out rate. A bell curve was not going to happen. But I also wanted to be a lawyer. So I chose a dual major which included pre-law in the college of business. It was crazy. I spent half my time out in the wilds of heavy contemplative philosophy and the other half in the hard discipline of things like economics, micro and macro. No my head did not explode and I graduated in both. But it did cause severe damage in the area of walking down the middle of the road.
I think you can see why I went off into that little history. Following a strict course of burden of proof will get you lopsided. Following a strict course of blind faith and mysticism will get you lopsided in the other direction. Now I would like to tell you that staying in that middle of the road is right. But I cannot. In order to swim one must jump all the way in the water. In order to experience success in any direction one must fully immerse one’s self into that direction.
I leave you with that. I am sure your own thoughts on the matter will yield you something useful.
How about you?
Are you comfortable getting all the way into something?
Are we meant to only sail on smooth seas?
If you read my sermons you know the ethereal side of Eric. You know the compassionate and loving side. Perhaps I go too far into love and get lost in the notions that are so dear to my heart. My hope is that you do that as well. But I go so far out there that I become lopsided. But I for sure will not lessen this plunge and only feel the water with one hand in the river. I must dive in and leave terra firma behind. But by golly I must live in this world and I must find balance to relax. Backwards as it may sound I relax in my world of the analytical burden of proof. You see to me it is relaxing to work the puzzles of life that can be solved by logic and proof. It is just solid and allows for rest. Full conclusions are reached and there is no moving target. It is what it is and it shall always be so and the burden of proof is on me and rising to the occasion is rewarding and concrete. Ah, it is easy.
Believe it or not but I have two really close friends that are attorneys. One in the area of employment litigation and one who is a straight up criminal defense lawyer. They let me consult with them. I love it. Straight forward problem solving using a set of rules and a legal paradigm that allows little wiggle room for variables. Apply the law to a given fact base and argue and conclude. Persuasion of a burden of proof style. Rules absent of emotion. Too cool to relax and problem solve. Issue, Rule, Application and Conclusion. IRAC. Can I beat the other guy at this game? To me it is so relaxing. (don’t worry I also play soccer with my son for fun, hike in nature, write and grow roses and cook for fun)
So let us thank our God. Somehow we can be of this world and yet also live in the other world. I like to think of it as a close contact with my Lord. It is my hope that relating my personal story here so that you know that there is at least one other who can live in both planes.
But I think you already know my point. Hey friend if you get way out there in one direction get way out there in the other and create your own pendulum balance. Don’t forget if no one told you today, I am telling you now. You are loved.
And that brings me to my own answer about the merging of the planes. Just for me, I do believe they merge. In that one special place – when we act in love.